There are times of extraordinary upheaval and stress, catastrophic events, sudden bereavement and other awful, awful stuff- so please don’t mishear what I am about to say.

I remember when my kids were very small and it seemed impossible to do anything (watch this if you are in any doubt!) and my lovely mum, who is also my best friend, would say things like “in a few years Jen, it will get easier…”
Well it didn’t – it just changed.

New challenges arose, my kids needed different things, and other challenges popped up as they do. I have suddenly reached the grand old age of 42½ with a 10 year and 14 year old daughter, thinking “I only just got over breastfeeding and now she wants a tattoo!”

Having been striving and working for many years on a multitude of projects, in the last 2 weeks, out of the blue, everything suddenly started to flourish and move! I’ll tell you much more about all that later this year but just as things started to work out, my eldest daughter started to have problems and will need a lot more of me in the coming few years (please don’t worry by the way). When you know what needs to happen to support a loved one and enable them to flourish themselves, like all OTs, you realise you can’t ignore the knowledge/skills you have – I need to really be her OT, big time!

However, I have just taken a studio (masquerading as an office) and thrown myself into my painting for the first time in probably my whole life. I started to feel really frustrated and say things like “just when one thing sorts itself out, another kicks off” and “I’m just not going to be able to get the studio now!”

I know I am seriously over-reacting/awful-izing (made up word) when these unhelpful thoughts pop up and I start to get really grumpy. To make this worse, my 10 year old has stopped doing her homework and is showing signs of the first wave of hormones kicking in.

“STOP, STOP, world, please stop, just give me a little clear space eh…just a few months…perhaps a year or so, that would be so, so nice…”

Unfortunately, the ‘world’ replied in my head and said, “No… you are just at the start of at least 8 years of teenage girl/ school angst, not to mention jobs/ university/ college/ relationships. You are already peri-menopausal, and after that of course, your parents will be in their late 80s and 90s and need more care and support. Then, of course, Jeff will be about to retire… then you will probably retire and perhaps then, you might be able to get in the studio- and all that’s assuming there are no unexpected events/ challenges/ illnesses…”

I actually found that exhausting even typing it, but my point is simple.

Outside of the extremes, life is just going to carry on regardless. The elusive time called “when things have calmed down”, is often very short, sometimes never arrives and often we are so busy recovering from the frantic times, or cleaning the loo, that we fail to notice it all together.

Waiting to paint, start a business, write a book, take up pottery or even just find time to plan your escape from work into a new job, may never happen if you wait until things have got better or sorted out.

Sometimes the best things are done in the middle of the kerfuffle – a 5 minute google to look for a new job, a 10 minute sketch, a quickly written opening or even better, final paragraph of your book. Sometimes leaving the washing up until after you have written a poem or just noticing that however many times you tidy the house, it will always be wrecked within 5 minutes of the kids coming home, might just let you do your thing first.

I’ve spoken before about sometimes when you try to create a space, clear some time-, stuff rushes in, like air filling a vacuum. My ‘whole day painting’ can result in, perhaps, 1 hour of actual painting, interspersed with coffee, catch-ups, emails, phone calls, Facebook, hanging the washing out etc. Not to mention the considerable amount of time spent remembering what I was doing, 3 weeks ago, on my last painting ‘day’…

Seven, one hour stints seem to yield so much more and I don’t forget what I was doing before! I have also noticed that if I just do some painting first or at least stop working an hour earlier and do a little bit, or squeeze a little something in, somehow everything shifts around – I still get my “work” done and I seem to do a remarkable amount of in a very short space of time.

I know that I didn’t wait until the end of their toddler years to get my business going – I clearly decided it was sensible to start residential coach training whilst I was breast feeding. But in retrospect, it seems to have been the way to get things moving.

Gotta go, just seen a chicken on my sofa….